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Exercise is a key aspect for everyone’s life–regardless of age or physical conditioning. While older adults, those with mobility issues, and/or disabilities may need to curtail or adapt their exercise program, it is recommended that people stay as active and mobile as possible. In this article, five ways to start living a more active life will be addressed.
According to studies, people who engage in active lifestyles could live nearly five years longer than their sedentary counterparts. In fact, the more physical activity individuals engage in, the longer they are likely to live. While many factors contribute to life expectancy, researchers have found that people who get at least 2.5 hours of moderate exercise per week, or even just over one hour of arduous exercise per week, lived an average of more than three years longer than individuals who do not engage in physical activity. These guidelines follow CDC and American Heart Association recommendations.
Meanwhile, those individuals who engage in physical activity and a workout routine at least twice the recommended amount lived an average of 4-5 years longer than people who live sedentary lifestyles. If older or disabled adults cannot engage in physical activity at the recommended levels, there are adjustments and adaptations that can be made to their exercise programs. Even less arduous and frequent amounts of exercise are beneficial for everyone and certainly healthier than no physical activity at all. Studies have shown that people who got even half the recommended amount of exercise each week extended their lives by as much as two years.
Needless to say, exercise is an essential element for everyone. A person’s age or physical conditioning does not preclude them from engaging in a workout routine. While older adults, those with mobility issues, and/or disabilities may need to curtail or adapt their exercise program, it is recommended that people stay as active and mobile as possible. Here are five ways to start living a more active life today.
1. Walking–Improving and/or maintaining cardiovascular health is necessary for a longer and more active life. Aerobic activities, such as walking, swimming, and jogging, have been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease, which is the number one killer of both women and men in the U.S. This form of activity helps to reduce “bad” cholesterol (LDL levels) and blood pressure levels. Moreover, this form of exercise also helps to improve blood sugar levels and maintain a healthy weight, both of which help prevent and reduce the risk for diabetes. Furthermore, walking is also a weight-bearing activity, which helps to build bone density for reduced risk of fracture, muscle loss, and osteoporosis.
2. Work Out While Watching TV–Try setting up an exercise bike and/or treadmill in front of the TV, and become more active while watching TV. What if someone does not have exercise equipment or they prefer Pilates, yoga, and/or stretching exercises? Try marching in place, clean the house, or place a mat and weights in front of the entertainment center instead. It does not matter how a person gets moving. The point is to stay as active as possible. Studies have suggested that the longer a person sits watching TV without moving, the greater their waist size, and the higher their risk of developing health concerns such as heart disease, diabetes, and stroke among other potential ailments.
3. Creative Workout Options–If someone has a desk job or severe mobility issues, they may need to adapt a creative workout routine. If possible, try using the stairs instead of the elevator, especially if it is only a couple of flights. If someone spends much of their day seated, try getting up and stretching or taking small walks throughout the day. If that is not possible, there is always isometric exercises which can be done while sitting or lying down.
4. Stand in Place–Standing burns more calories and uses more muscles than sitting. If a person trains one’s self to stand as much as possible (e.g. while talking on the phone, walking or pacing during meetings if possible, waiting in the doctor’s office, standing while riding on the bus or train, etc.), these are easy and low impact ways to live a more active lifestyle.
5. Active Messaging–Try going retro and adopt a more active messaging approach at work or home. Forget email and walk down the hall to ask a question or communicate with co-workers. Work from home? Try standing and/or walking while on Skype or WebEx meetings whenever possible.
By making a few simple adjustments such as the five ways mentioned, these tips could not only help a person live a more active and healthier lifestyle, but it might help people live a longer and more productive life in general. After all, exercise is an essential element for everyone’s life–regardless of their age or physical conditioning. While older adults, those with mobility issues, and/or disabilities may need to curtail or adapt their workout routine, it is recommended that people stay as active and mobile as possible. It is also recommended that anyone with health concerns and/or mobility issues consult a doctor or therapist before beginning any exercise program.
By Leigh Haugh
WebMD–Do You Have Sitting Disease?
National Cancer Institute–NIH Study Finds Physical Activity Extends Life Expectancy
FitDay–Can Exercise Really Extend Your Life?
American Heart Association–Physical Activity Improves Quality of Life